Strategic Depth - Intermediate
Setup Time - 5 mins.
Play Time - 20 to 60 mins.
Players - 1 to 4
Mechanics - Worker Placement
Production Info - 2015 | Tasty Minstrel Games | Scott Almes
In the game Harbour, you begin by visiting a bustling town near the sea. Fascinated with the charm of the town, you visit building after building conversing with the business owners and negotiating trades for resources. Eventually you amass enough resources to a start selling them for money in the local marketplace and begin purchasing some of your favorite businesses to run yourself. You continue to grow your influence and standing within the town through your accumulation of businesses until eventually you are an established member of the Harbour community (aka the Harbour Master).
- The Good -
With my background being in finance, I loved the the idea of a market place where the values of goods were constantly changing (akin to a stock market). While this can be frustrating for some, the constant risk of the value of your goods changing forces you to anticipate what future prices may be based on supply/demand.
Compacted Size/Quick Setup
The first thing you will notice about this game is it all fits inside a TINY box. There are not a lot of different components which makes the game setup super quick. It is fantastic that Tiny Minstrel Games was able to compress such a deep game into a compact size. This is a great game to travel with.
With over 20 different characters and 50+ different building that could be revealed, everytime you play Harbour you are guaranteed to have to come up with a new strategy.
- The Bad -
The largest disappointment with this game is many of the building cards are hard to understand the intent and/or guidelines involved in playing the actions. I think it took me at least 5 separate occasions of game play before I actually played a complete game according to the intent of the rules!
I wish the game designers had taken a little more time to contemplate the design of the building cards for clarity or at least added a section in the rule book explaining some of the more "not-so-obvious" abilities of the building cards.
If you are having the same struggles I had while learning the building card abilities, jump over to the FAQ section in this article where I try to cover a lot of the rules that weren't so clear to us.
We found throughout our game play that players were constantly forgetting their player color and moving the wrong meeple from building to building. It would have been nice to have some sort of marker included that could be laid on your player card to remember players of their color.
- Overall -
Harbour is a great introductory Euro game that is fast paced and easy to pick up on the mechanics. It's small footprint and depth of play makes it a no-brainer to bring along on a road trip or over to a friend's house. I encourage you to take some time and really get to know the rules the first few times you play this game as the building cards will take some time to conceptually understand. Overall this game is a great one to have in your collection and one of my favorites!
The following summaries are meant to be a high-level reminder of how to play this game. If this is your first time playing, we highly recommend that you read your board game's included rule book which will go into much more depth. You can download a digital PDF copy of the official rules by clicking the button below. There are also a few video tutorials near the bottom of this section to help all you visual learners out as well.
- Setup Overview -
- Place the Market board in the center of the table. Choose either the Inland Traders Market board side or the Regular Market board side.
- Use the Bonus Points cards to randomly determine the value of the goods in the Market
- Building Card Count = Number of Players + 3. If three or more buildings dealt to the center have the "Buy A Building" symbol, reshuffle and deal out new building cards.
- [OPTIONAL] Secretly deal a Bonus Points card to each player. Players should not disclose this card until the end of the game.
- Decide whether you are playing with "The Wharfs" player boards or unique characters. If playing with unique characters, deal out 2 player boards to everyone and each player can choose their board after examining the building cards.
- Each player starts with a total of 3 goods of their choice (ie 1 Wood and 2 Stone)
- All player meeples start off the board (not in any building)
- Starting Player - The player who was most recently on a boat. Play proceeds clockwise around the table.
- Game Play/Player Turns -
Player Turn Actions
- Moving your Meeple to an unoccupied Building Card
- Carrying out the Building's action (if possible)
If a Building is Purchased
- Change the quantity of any goods you are selling to zero
- Retain 1 good sold to the Market per warehouse if you own any
- Adjust the Marketplace tiles
- Draw a new Building Card
- End Of Game -
The game ends after a player has purchased their 4th building card. Play continues until you reach the starting player (so everyone gets the same amount of turns).
- Winning -
The winner is the person who has the highest total Victory Points earned from their building cards and Bonus Points cards (if you decided to play with them).
- Tie Breakers -
Ties are broken in the following order:
- The win goes to the tied player with the most building cards
- The win goes to the tied player with the most resources
- Great Instructional Videos -
Here's a few helpful instructional videos you or your group can watch to learn how to play this game visually.
What happens if you can't carry out a building's requirements?
Single Action - You must be able to fulfill 100% of the requirements while visiting a building. If you cannot fulfill the building's requirements, you will end up getting nothing during your turn. These sorts of moves are considered defensive as they block other players from using that building for the remainder of the turn.
OR Action - You must carry out only one of the two actions.
AND Action - You must perform both actions if you are able to in any order. As an example, you may get a "& Buy Building" action but may not be able to buy at that particular time....in that case, you just skip that part of the action.
Can you use another player's starting building during the game?
Yes, as long as it is unoccupied and you are able to pay the toll (pay one of your goods to the player).
What happens to a meeple after the building it is visiting has been purchased?
The residing meeple remains with the building as it transfers ownership. The residing player does not need to pay a toll during this process.
Can you use a warehouse immediately when you purchase a building that includes one?
No, you must wait until your next building purchase.
Can you store the same type of goods when you own multiple warehouses?
Yes, as long as you had multiples of the same good during your purchase (ie if you had 2 warehouses, you could keep [2 wood] or [1 wood and 1 stone] as long as you sold wood/stone to the Market).
What happens to a player who is occupying the [Ghost Ship] or [Wizard's Traveling Imaginarium] cards after they are used?
After the building card is shuffled into the deck, the player's meeple moves out of the town, residing on no building for the remainder of the turn.
How exactly does the [Library] card work when purchasing two buildings at the same time?
- If you can afford to, you must buy two buildings. This might mean purchasing two less expensive buildings over purchasing an expensive building and not being able to afford a second building
- Both buildings are purchased at the same time. Do not buy one and draw the player a new building to purchase
- Coin discounts apply to both buildings' prices. For example, if you had a two-coin discount, you would receive two coins off of both the buildings being purchased not just one of them.
How exactly does the [Cartographers] card work when purchasing a building?
- If a non-purchasable card is drawn, it cannot be replaced for another building card
- You must buy one of the 5 cards if you can afford to
- You may only purchase from the 5 drawn cards
How does the Stock Market card work?
Choose one of your resources and multiply it's quantity by 2 (think of is as a "2x" card)
BUY THIS GAME
You have a variety of options across the web where you can purchase this game. We have an affiliate relationship with Amazon where they will give us a percentage of anything you buy on their site if you click one of our Amazon links on this site. This costs you absolutely nothing and is a free way to support our site so we can keep providing you great content and keep this website ad-free! Thank you for your support!!
Highest Price: $19.95 (May 14, 2017)
Lowest Price: $11.74 (Aug 25, 2015)
Average Price: $15.90
*According to CamelCamelCamel.com (12/28/2017)
If you like how this board game plays, you'll definitely want to check out these great games which play similar.